Who are you? It is not an invitation for a cliche’d answer I propose that what we think we are is wrong.
When we think we are something it like using a photograph of ourselves and saying that this is me! However seductive it might be to consider ourselves as a fixed series of belief values and reactions, it can never be true. But why is that? It's because we use inner symbols to represent reality. My favourite example of this is the concept of algebra. Algebra is a fully abstract language of attribution and logic. Consider:
a = a
In the above example it is all really true. It is the same with numbers. One is One. One will always be one and cannot be anything else. In all fairness human beings defined the concept of One and algebra. However try this example from language and nature:
Dog = dog
cup = cup
You notice that there never can be a cup which is the same as another cup. In the same way that a dog will never ever be the same as any other dog. In fact if I brought a dog here to you, you would have a different experience of the same dog. So it is with everything. It is insanity to think anything else.
When you say a sentence you are actually saying a series of symbols which have been attributed information in the form of energy, feelings, emotions, ambiances, and who knows what else. Nothing you are saying is real or has any true complete equivalent in anybody else's mind. - Can you understand how we have communication problems?
Now let's look at that self-talk or our thinking. Thoughts and their relationships
What is more up close and personal than your thought. Our thoughts seem to be part of us and yet they often seem to have a wildness and uncontrolled aspect which we find hard to deal with.
Mahatma Ghandi said something interesting about thoughts "A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes. (Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/mahatmagan125863.html#M1VOor24SLxh29Ev.99)
If you think of the things we push out of our mind we see how our thoughts react to them. It's like our thoughts are really like a sonar like reflective sense. Just think about getting up at a much earlier time than you are used to and a series of thoughts and judgements reflexively come.
Our thoughts are like reflexes and in the way that they are often bouncing on the limits of our values and judgements they are also reflections.
What happens when we examine our thoughts a symbols and look at what these symbols represent. We don't need to see anybody else to interpret them for us because we are the one's that feel them. All you need is mindfullness, Normally you subjectivity is a drawback in self-help, however here is is a positive boon.
Let's take the sentence. "I am right!" We all know how great it is to be right, don't we. Now consider the self enquiry. What do you actually feel when you say the word "I", perhaps not much, perhaps in this sentence you feel a certain pride. Now the word am may also not hold any feeling. I think most of us would feel something at the last word "right". Some of us feel a sense of justice being done, some feel afraid of consequences from an evil world. The point is not to judge but to notice. This is where and how the magic happens. Just by noticing something very special begins to take place. It is the magic of becoming self-aware. We may become self- aware that we are really saying "I am right" = " I am [go fuck yourself]." and
Your beliefs are rotten to the core
If you consider that you haven't really examined your thoughts in any great depth then it is possible that your thoughts have worms. I think you'd have to agree that our values and beliefs are things that we consider are right. What happens when the word right was passed on to you as a little kid with God Fearing Anger, or right was a nebulous term from borderless parenting etc. I don't have to go too far with my analogies to demonstrate that if your bottom line "right" is not even clear and certainly very subjective then the cast iron beliefs you have may be truly as brittle as cast iron.That would make them more arbitrary.
The inherent gentleness of consciousness has it's effect:
When you are using mindfulness you are not judging. You are not looking for a right answer or even a wrong answer. You are just observing, following. All is accepted. All is allowed. What is not allowed goes on the list of what needs to be enquired into. Once you enter into this mindset you invite kindness and compassion in as much as it is kind not to judge. It is kind to allow just to be.
The process of self-enquiry is self help. You will learn compassion and gentleness with your innermost and intimate parts. This will elicit deep healing on a mental emotional and spiritual level.